No, I Don't
Today is Tuesday, April 23, 2019. On April 20, 2019, three days ago, I went to confession, was conditionally baptized (it’s a long story), got confirmed into the Catholic Church, & received communion for the first time since being told “Lizzie, you’re not Catholic, you have to stop receiving communion”. Oops!
It’s been a really long journey these last 13 months since I initially expressed interest in converting, but I am here now to answer the question I have been asked pretty much non-stop the last few days: “Lizzie, now that you’re Catholic, do you feel different?”
No, I do not feel different.
At least not really.
This summer I’m hoping to post something long about my faith journey throughout my life, but here’s the Sparknotes version for the purpose of this post:
I technically grew up in a Congregational Church, but I stopped going to church in third grade & was always really annoyed whenever my grandma made us go to her Protestant church when we visited her in Ohio. I was “roughly Christian” for a while, but I eventually started considering myself an Atheist & identified as an Atheist for five years, from September 2010-June 17, 2015. Long story short, I decided that I was not an Atheist anymore during a really powerful moment I had during a group prayer at a camp I went to at Pepperdine that lead me to change my “there is definitely no God” to a “maybe there’s a God?”.
I spent most of my senior year Agnostic until the Bible study that one of my best friends, Julia, started our spring semester started getting to me. Her faith was incredibly inspiring & the more I learned about what being Christian meant to her, the more I wanted it for myself. I have “officially” believed in God/been a Christian since June-ish 2016, around the time I graduated high school. All I know is that I graduated from La Cañada High School Agnostic, but came to Loyola Marymount University Christian.
And then my life changed dramatically. At LMU, my faith went from 1-100 in a blink of an eye. Coming to school, I was excited to potentially find a Bible study that I liked as much as I liked talking to Julia, & I eventually did. I spent most of my freshman year studying the Bible on my own & occasionally doing devotionals, but when I started going to Greek Light my sophomore year with Nicole, I really let go & gave it all to God. In a few short months, I went from Christian on the inside to really starting to make my faith visible on the outside. Suddenly my faith started defining me & slowly started becoming the thing people knew about me before they knew me at all. I truly made God the center of my life. From friendships to lifestyle, from conversations to mindset; God was & still is the foundation in which I build my life on. I am living out the plan that God had & still has for me, converting was just a part of that. God & Christianity have very much been the center of my life for a while.
So no, I don’t feel different. If I thought I should make a lifestyle change, I would’ve made it already. The other day one of my friends said that they were excited to “officially welcome me into the Church”, even though they felt like I had “already felt a part of it for so long”, which is the perfect way to put it.
I’m sorry to disappoint, but I truly just don’t feel different at all. I’ve been Catholic in my heart for a long time, on Saturday I just made it official.
Moving on, I’m going to take a moment to affirm & praise some spectacular friends. Here we go:
To everyone who expressed any interested in my faith journey at all, to all of my BilBoys & BilBabes, to my Guyana Gang & Cambodia Clan, to my Greek Light Core Team & my CLC, to all of those who texted me the days & weeks leading up to Saturday, everyone who posted stories on Instagram, everyone who gave me a card, a present, or prayers, to everyone who has passed me in the halls & congratulated me, & everyone I’ve ever sat with at mass: thank you. I could not have done it with everyone like all of you supporting me.
To Carlie, Lexi, Vanessa, Nicole, Gaia, Griffin, Armas, Jack, Ivonne, Dee, Rachel, Meredith, Garrett, my mom & my dad: thank you for being some of my favorite people ever & for taking 3 hours out of your Saturday nights to celebrate with me. Thank you for spending time with me afterward, giving me hugs, & telling me that my hair “looked fine” even though I knew that it didn’t. Thank you to those of you who couldn’t stay long but came anyway, to the ones I couldn’t look at without laughing, & to the ones who insisted on making a trip to In-N-Out after. It feels so appropriate that my first meal as a Catholic was animal fries & a lemon-up from my favorite place on Earth.
To Taylor, Ashlyn, Emily, and Blake: thank you for being role models & reassuring me the whole night. I feel so lucky to know people who serve God like you four.
To Vanessa (again): Thank you for always being willing to put your hand on my shoulder when it felt like I didn’t have any support behind me & being the perfect person to look up to. You are one of Heaven’s best gifts. An angel!
To Shane, Christine, Jonathan, and Brandon: my brothers & sisters in Christ, it’s been an honor to grow with all of you & see you all transform over the last few months. All of you will always have a very special place in my heart!
To Jake & Sister Maria: Thank you for taking care of us, teaching us, and always being there for us. Thank you for answering every question, for every two-on-one, & all the encouragement.
& to Kristen Burch: thank you for getting Cafe Solar that one morning in March, listening to my heart, & being the greatest role model since the moment I met you. I’ve known since day 1 that you were someone really, really special. Thank you for spending time with me, the sweet texts, holding my hand, & joking with me all night. Thank you for willing to take the time to make major impacts on me & be someone so important to me. You are so many of the reasons as to why I started believing that Catholicism was the right choice for me. Thank you for believing in me.